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My Garden Diary

January and February 2016

Copyright © 2016 by David E. Ross

Many years ago, when I first started my Web site, I created an online diary of my gardening activities and observations. However, with work and the commute from Hell, I was often so tired I had to choose between maintaining my garden and maintaining my diary. Sometimes, I did neither. In 1998, I stopped my diary and removed the pages from my Web site.

Now I am retired. I am well-rested and have plenty of time to both garden and maintain a diary. This diary is primarily for my own benefit, so that I can look back upon what I did and when. But I thought others might also be interested, so here it is.

Also see What's Blooming in My Garden Now?


January-February 2013
March-April 2013
May-June 2013
July-August 2013
September-October 2013
November-December 2013
January-February 2014
March-April 2014
May-June 2014
July-August 2014
September-October 2014
November-December 2014
January-February 2015
March-April 2015
May-June 2015
July-August 2015
September-October 2015
November-December 2015

Diary entries for 2004 through 2012

Entries below are in reverse order (latest at the top). Daily, I might stoop to pull a weed or use a hose to water some potted plants; however, I don't consider those significant gardening activities. Thus, you will not see daily entries. Also, I might accumulate a few entries before updating this page on the Web.

When plants have well-known common names, their scientific names are given only the first time they appear on this page (entry closest to the bottom). There, the common name is in bold or appears as a link to another Web page.

Dates refer to other entries in the same year as the entry in which they appear unless a different year is given. However, they may refer to entries on prior pages.

Date and Weather Observations and Activities
29 January

Clear, sunny, and mild (changing later to cloudy, hazy sun, and mild)

Temp: 60-75
Winter chill: 167.2 hours
Humidity: 26%
Wind: 3-23

Rain —
This season: 3.72
Days since last: 9

Bought and planted an artichoke (Cynara scoymus) and a columbine (an Aquilegia hybrid), replacing plants that failed to survive last summer's heat.

Applied gypsum, sulfur, and iron sulfate around the liquidambar tree (L. styraciflua). Its leaf buds are starting to swell, and I want to prevent the chlorosis that often afflicts its leaves.

Raked leaves in front. I also wanted to rake leaves in back, but my back was hurting from leaning into the rake. Also, the green garden-waste bin for the county's composting project was nearly full.

Although I have not yet finished raking leaves in back, The Tree is already starting to leaf out.

Leaf buds on the roses in front are swelling; some actual leaves have already appeared. I fed all seven of these roses with nitrogen sulfate, iron sulfate, and Epsom salts. I also gave each a generous amount of gypsum to improve the soil's tilth. I won't start my regular monthly feeding of roses, however, until I feed the roses in back.

Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) promotes new shoots. I only gave most of the roses a generous pinch. Some of the roses, however, had few good canes when I pruned them. I gave those laggard roses two or three pinches of Epsom salts.

27 January

Cloudy, some hazy sun, and mild

Temp: 55-69
Winter chill: 167.2 hours
Humidity: 18%
Wind: 2-15

Rain —
This season: 3.72
Days since last: 7

Pruned the 'Flame' grape vine at the top of My Hill. All winter pruning is now done. This vine has grown so vigorously that it will soon support the wire on which it is growing. It will be many years before the 'Perlette' and 'Black Monukka' at the bottom of My Hill achieve such robust trunks.

The bush anemone on the west side of My Hill does not look as healthy as the one on the east side (24 Jan). When I nicked the bark with a thumbnail, however, it was still green. Perhaps the winter rains will revive it.

Several roses in front already have leaf buds opening. I will have to feed them soon.

24 January

Clear, sunny, and mild

Temp: 48-64
Winter chill: 167.2 hours
Humidity: 33%
Wind: 2-18

Rain —
This season: 3.72
Week: 0.10

Pruned the climbing 'Peace' rose in back. This is the most vigorous of my three climbing roses; shortened, it still spreads over 16 feet along the top of the slough wall at the bottom of My Hill. All my roses have now been pruned.

Pruned the second grape vine on My Hill. Only the vine at the top remains. That one will require quite some effort since there are shoots almost to the bottom of My Hill.

While on My Hill to prune the grape vine, I also trimmed the 'Majestic Beauty' rhaphiolepis (R. indica × R. umbellata?) away from one of the sprinkler heads. I also cut down some tree seedlings that volunteered.

The bush anemone (Carpenteria californica) on the east side of My Hill is still alive. I did not get close enough to the bush anemone on the west side to check its status.

Several plants in my greenhouse window need either to be repotted (especially the orchids) or else to be renewed via cuttings.

21 January

Thin, high clouds; hazy sun, mild

Temp: 54-69
Winter chill: 167.2 hours
Humidity: 23%
Wind: 3-13

Pruned the climbing 'Dublin Bay' rose in back and one of the lower grape vines on My Hill.

Although we have had many days with measurable rain, the cumulative rainfall this rain-year remains significantly lower than the amount (6.37 inches) as of this date last rain-year, which was a year of extreme drought.


Rain —
This season: 3.72
Week: 0.12

17 January

Early-morning fog and then partally cloudy, hazy sun, and mild

Temp: 50-66
Winter chill: 167.2 hours
Humidity: 61%
Wind: 2-13

Rain —
This season: 3.62
Week: 0.02

Pruned the climbing '4th of July' rose, thus finishing all the roses in front. Not only are the branches of a climbing rose longer than the branches of a bush rose, but climbers also seem to have far more thorns per inch of branch. I also pruned the 'Sunsprite' and 'Arizona' roses in back, leaving only the 'Dublin Bay' and 'Peace' climbing roses to be pruned. Of course, I will also have to prune the grape vines on My Hill.

Raked leaves off the rest of the back lawn (7 Jan), but now the part I already raked has to be raked again. The mounds of leaves on the patio and paths are getting larger. I expect The Tree will be in full leaf again before I can get rid of the old leaves that fell from it.

The variegated pothos (Epipremnum pinnatum 'Aureum') hanging in the blue bathroom appears dead. It was severely damaged last month when I had to move all my indoor plants to a neighbor's house when our own house was tented and fumigated for termites. When the variegated pothos in the breakfast room gets larger, I will take cuttings to replace the dead one.

7 January

Mostly clear with some clouds, sunny, and cold

Temp: 40-53
Winter chill: 151.2 hours
Humidity: 69%
Wind: 2-19

All of a sudden, The Tree (evergreen ash, Fraxinus uhdei) is finally dropping most of its leaves. While it already dropped some last month, the major leaf-fall usually happens in November and December. I raked the back lawn, filling the green trash bin for the county's composting program and still left mounds of leaves on the paths and patio. I only raked about half the lawn and then had to quit because it was just too cold outdoors to continue.

While we have had some serious rain, we are more than an inch below where we were last year at this date. The drought is not yet over.


Rain —
This season: 3.55
Week: 2.54

1 January

Scattered, thin, high clouds; mostly sunny, and cool

Temp: 42-58
Winter chill: 125.3 hours
Humidity: 16%
Wind: 6-18

Happy New Year! Following my long New Year tradition, I pruned two roses in back.

Picked the one fruit that my tangelo tree (Citrus reticulata × paradisi 'Minneola') produced and ate it for lunch. It was juicy, sweet, and flavorful. While walking in my neighborhood yesterday, I saw a tangelo tree covered with fruit. I plan to stop some day at that house and ask the owners how they get such an abundant crop.


Rain —
This season: 1.02
Days since last: 10

Weather data are from the Cheeseboro (CHE) weather station, about 2 miles ENE of my house.

The high temperature (°F) is daytime for the indicated date; the low temperature (°F) is for the previous night.

Winter chill is the cumulative hours of temperatures at or below 45°F from 1 November through 31 March. It is reported during that period and through April.

The relative humidity is at noon. (In my garden, it is likely higher than reported, a result of regular irrigation.)

Wind speeds (mph) are average (not peak) low and high, midnight to midnight (subject to later correction for diary entries posted before the end of the day). I also indicate peak wind gusts parenthetically when they are significantly high.

Rain is in inches. Season is the cumulative amount of rainfall from 1 October until 30 September of the following year (our "rain-year"). Week is the cumulative amount of measurable rainfall from noon seven days ago until noon of the indicated date. If no measurable rain fell in that period, Days since last is reported.

Characterization of the weather (e.g., Clear, sunny, and warm) is purely subjective; for example, "warm" might occur with higher temperatures than "hot" if the former occurs with lower humidity and more breezes than the latter. Also, a day that would normally be characterized as "mild" might instead be "warm" if the immediately previous days were quite cold. Finally, such characterization reflects when I was actually outside and gardening and ignores changes that occur while I am inside.

The signature line I use when writing messages about my garden includes the following:

Climate: California Mediterranean
Sunset Zone: 21 -- interior Santa Monica Mountains with some ocean influence (USDA 10a, very close to Sunset Zone 19)
See also My Climate.
November-December 2015
September-October 2015
July-August 2015
May-June 2015
March-April 2015
January-February 2015
November-December 2014
September-October 2014
July-August 2014
May-June 2014
March-April 2014
January-February 2014
November-December 2013
September-October 2013
July-August 2013
May-June 2013
March-April 2013
January-February 2013

Diary entries for 2004 through 2012


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